Wales great thinks Pivac should leave ageing stars at home for foredoomed SA tour
A badly out of form Wales face the daunting task of upsetting the world champions in a three-Test series this July, a feat that proved beyond the combined might of the British & Irish Lions in 2021.
Pivac’s men failed to fire in the 2022 Guinness Six Nations, falling to a humiliating home loss to Italy in the final game of this year’s competition.
Even in a good year a victorious Test tour of South Africa is one of the sport’s most intractable assignments. Few are predicting anything but a drubbing for a Wales team down on their luck and facing heavy criticism from their fans.
Just this weekend, Dragons DoR Dean Ryan warned that Wales will face a ‘gulf’ in power when they head south in three months’ time.
“If we needed a reminder, the last couple of weeks and months have been a stark reminder,” Ryan said after his Dragons side were thumped 51 – 3 this weekend. “In the last two weeks we got an education in power… It is a reality check for us and it is a reality check for Wales going into the three-Test series in July.”
Now former Wales great Scott Gibbs has suggested that Pivac leaves their more experienced stars at home for the summer tour, including the talismanic figure of Alun Wyn Jones.
“If you look at Alun Wyn, George North, Tipuric — all of them have had a difficult year with injuries and so on,” Gibbs told SA Rugby Mag. “Maybe it’s time to just say: ‘Listen, take the off season and rest. Let’s free up some space to see what talent we have coming forward.’
“I think that would make for an even more interesting Test series. Both sides have new faces and new identities and maybe you can blood some new rugby patterns that’ll be a little bit more exciting, rather than maybe going up against a robust selection that will be familiar to South Africa, and with Wales then trying to bring all of their injured guys who haven’t had much game-time into a Test series.”
“While it is a significant Test series this summer, it probably has no bearing [in terms of results] on how you prepare going forward with France 2023 around the corner. So I’d like to think the sentiment from both camps would be ‘let’s see some new faces, let’s freshen it up a little’.”
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